New shoe factory to open soon in the Queen City

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 12:57 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -Shloop, there it is, a brand-new shoe factory is being built right here in the city of Meridian, offering a different product than any other shoe factory, but it really stands out when it comes to its approach to making shoes.

“The big difference with the Shloop facility is we’ve taken a lot of Labor out of it because, you know, we just weren’t sure how many people would be able to get to do the assembly. We’ve automated a lot of the equipment, so we’re an average line, might need 200 people. We can do it with about 15 people,” said the Chairman of the Board, Mike Vandrunen.

But you might think why would they choose Meridian to open a factory like this, but there is one main reason why Meridian stood out.

“And I actually chose Meridian before I ever been here. We came here in 2014 with the Algix Bloom Company, and we were relying on Algae to make our products. And Meridian is kind of the center. Of the aquaculture industry, so from like 100-mile radius from here, we could get all the algae we needed from all the primarily the catfish farmers. So that’s what brought us here. When I looked at a map and said, we’re all the fish farms, the United States. I drew I drew a map, and right in the middle of it was Meridian Ms,” said Vandrunen.

And the community is super excited for all of the opportunities that something like this could create.

“So I’m excited, and it’s going to create opportunities for people to find jobs here, and I’m. Really excited that. I heard about them working with other local organizations. So it’s not that they’re just here and working with people overseas or in another state, but local businesses as well. So I think that’s always a great thing when you have the power of local working together and and generating that community respect,” said local, Sara Smith.

The company plans to start production in May of this year offering shoes to businesses and its own retail store later on in the year.